Many believers, in an attempt to draw closer to God, have turned to ‘keeping Torah’ (Old Testament Law) and are following the Hebrew Roots movement.  But this is not pleasing to God.  Keeping The Law is, and always has been, a work of the flesh.

To go back to keeping the letter of The Law, rather than being led by the SPIRIT of The Law, shows a lack of understanding.  (But I do not say this in condemnation–the subject CAN be confusing.)

We are plainly told that we are delivered from The Law . . . specifically, the LETTER of The Law.

‘For when we were in the flesh, the motions of sins, which were by the law, did work in our members to bring forth fruit unto death.

But now we are delivered from the law, that being dead wherein we were held; that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not [in] the oldness of the letter.’  (Romans 7:5-6)

 

Sadly, and ironically, living by The Law INCREASES a person’s separation from God, because where The Law is, sin increases.

‘What shall we say then? [Is] the law sin? God forbid. Nay, I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet.  But sin, taking occasion by the commandment, wrought in me all manner of concupiscence.

For without the law sin [was] dead.  For I was alive without the law once: but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died.  And the commandment, which [was ordained] to life, I found [to be] unto death. For sin, taking occasion by the commandment, deceived me, and by it slew [me].’  (Romans 7:7-11)

 

God’s ways are higher than our ways.  The way He works is often a mystery to us.  One might reason that The Law was given so that men would be obedient.  But men who are spiritually dead, who are under the Law of Sin and Death, are unable to walk in perfect obedience.  In fact, the reason that God gave The Law to men is perplexing to human reasoning:

‘Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound:  That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.’  (Romans 5:20-21)

‘[Is] the law then against the promises of God? God forbid: for if there had been a law given which could have given life, verily righteousness should have been by the law.  But the scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe.’  (Galatians 3:21-22)

When the Law came, men became worse!  Sin was strengthened and sin abounded.  But this was in order that our salvation could be by FAITH, and not by works.  If we could have walked in perfect obedience, salvation would not have been a gift, by God’s grace, but rather the just compensation for our works.  By the way that God chose, He is glorified and His righteous, longsuffering, merciful, gracious character is revealed.

So, should we dismiss The Law as being useless?  By no means!

‘But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed.  Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster [to bring us] unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster.’  (Galatians 3:23-25)

‘ . . . I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet.’  (Romans 7:7)

The Law gives us a picture of what righteousness should look like.  It also shows us that, while we are still under the Law of Sin and Death, we are unable to walk in perfect obedience and righteousness.  It makes us realize our need for a savior . . . and our need for God’s help.

There is another aspect to this situation that must be discussed.  Those who have turned to ‘keeping Torah’ have often done it as a reaction to the false gospel and false doctrines that have taken over mainstream ‘Christianity’:

‘Just believe in Jesus and say this Sinner’s Prayer’ (no mention of repentance) . . . ‘Once you are Saved you are Always Saved’ (OSAS) . . . you can live as you please because you have ‘liberty in Christ’ and ‘we are only sinners saved by grace–we sin daily in word, thought, and deed’ . . . etc.

Not everybody is fooled by this hogwash.  But not everyone is grounded in God’s word either, so they have jumped from the frying pan into the fire, so to speak.

Those who have turned to ‘keeping Torah’ are not completely wrong.  They are far closer to the truth than mainstream ‘Christianity’.  HOWEVER . . . they have gone a little too far.

Jesus DOES tell us to keep The Commandments:

‘ . . .  if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.’  (Matt. 19:17; also John 14:15, 15:10)

And Revelation tells us that in The Tribulation ‘the saints’ will keep God’s Commandments:

‘Here is the patience of the saints: here [are] they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.’  (Rev. 14:12 and 12:17)

The distinction is this:  there is a difference between The Law and The Commandments.  We ARE to keep The Commandments, but we are NOT to focus on the letter of The Law.

  • The Law contains 613 restrictions and commandments, including a dietary code.  The Commandments are ten.
  • The Law was written down by Moses, on scrolls.  The Commandments were written by God, in stone.
  • The Law was kept in the SIDE of the Ark of the Covenant.  The Commandments were placed under the Mercy Seat, INSIDE the Ark of the Covenant.

Furthermore, our keeping of The Commandments is not to be our FOCUS, but will be the RESULT of being led of the Spirit, once we are born again.  The Holy Spirit which is placed inside each Christian, is the (same) SPIRIT of The Law.  The Spirit leads us to keep the spirit/intent of The Law, and to DO IT WITH THE RIGHT MOTIVES.

Keeping the letter of The Law leads to death, but the Spirit leads us in the way of life.

‘Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life.’  (2 Cor. 3:6)

The Holy Spirit is NOT leading people to keep the LETTER of The Law, because that would be in contradiction to what is written in God’s word.

Therefore, there is no way around it: those who are ‘keeping Torah’ are NOT being led of the Holy Spirit.  They are walking in the flesh.  Romans 8:1 applies to them, in reverse:

‘[There is] therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.  For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.’  (Romans 8:1-2)

Those who are keeping Torah are NOT walking after the Spirit, but are walking after the flesh.  They ARE under condemnation, and they have submitted themselves again to the Law of Sin and Death.

‘For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh:  That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.

For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit.’  (Romans 8:3-5)

Those who are ‘keeping Torah’ have their attention occupied with walking in the letter of The Law–all 613 requirements of it.  And they cannot keep it.  Nor will the Holy Spirit HELP them to keep it.  They are walking in the flesh.  Hopefully, in time, they will realize the miserable condition they have fallen into, and their need for a savior.

Ironically, those who are walking in the Spirit, who ARE focusing on loving God and loving their neighbor, ARE keeping the spirit and intent of The Law, and are not under condemnation.

‘So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.  But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you.

Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.  And if Christ [be] in you, the body [is] dead because of sin; but the Spirit [is] life because of righteousness.  But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.

Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh.  For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.  For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.’  (Romans 8:8-14)

If YOU have gotten caught up in the Hebrew Roots movement, understand that God sees your heart and knows that you wish to please Him.  But we please Him by walking in the way that HE has ordained, even if it doesn’t make sense to us.

The Scriptures clearly tell us that The Law cannot give us life (Col. 3:21, 2 Cor. 3:6) and that The Law has been done away with (Romans 7:6, Gal. 3:23-25).  YES, we must walk in obedience–but obedience to what?  (The Commandments, not The Law.)  And how?  (By the Spirit, not by the flesh.)

I hope you will prayerfully consider what I have said here, and turn back to a walk of faith and obedience, being led by the Spirit.

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